An Interview with Brian Clark
Yesterday when I posted that the new Teaching Sells resource has just launched I mentioned that I would have an interview with one of it’s founders Brian Clark from Copyblogger. Brian has understandably had a pretty hectic few days – but was generous enough to give us some time to explore a little more of what Teaching Sells is about.
Where does blogging fit into your own personal overall online business strategy?
Well, it would be silly to say that blogging isn’t an important part of everything I’ve been doing. I’ve spent over 18 months blogging at Copyblogger, trying to get better and better every week and attract more subscribers. I guess the key word in my blogging strategy is “attract,” though. Once you have a relationship with readers, that opens up whole new opportunities to have a direct financial relationship with them, rather than selling them to advertisers.
But it’s also crucial to remember that there are ways to make money without blogging and with very little free content. And that’s all tied to having something to sell.
Why did you start the course?
This project came together like most do for me. I rarely do anything on my own—I’ll either partner up with someone for marketing purposes, or I’ll partner with someone to do a project, or I’ll put together a team, like a producer does.
In this case, Tony Clark and I came to realize that we both had wildly succeeded with educational marketing and training approaches to paid content. It just took off from there.
What do you say to people who say ‘can’t people get this all for free elsewhere?’
I’d say first that it’s a rare breed of person who will actually do that. People who are online-savvy are not like the vast majority of people, but they make the mistake that others are like them. These people often never make any money, because they fail to realize that they have skills that “normal” people don’t.
What we teach, however, goes beyond that. When you position your paid content in a unique way, no one can really say they can get it free elsewhere. A unique perspective is not freely available, and it’s often a unique perspective that truly gets through to people.
So is it fair to say that those who have been blogging haven’t been wasting time, but rather creating a launching pad for bigger and better things?
Absolutely. Listen – I’ve been told by more than one Internet marketing “guru” that I’m wasting my time with an audience of bloggers. That they’ll never buy anything.
That’s crazy. Bloggers have done something that most people who buy Internet marketing “dream” materials have never done—they’ve taken action. They’ve actually done something, and that’s huge.
A blog to me is like an aircraft carrier… it’s the platform that you launch everything else off of. It’s the spoke in the wheel, and there are $100-million-dollar-a-year email publishing business models that follow the same strategy.
Just be smart about your free content, and have something to sell. That’s what’s worked for me for the last 10 years.
How practical do you get in Teaching Sells? Is it just theory or do you show people how to do it?
That’s the great thing about the interactive training format we use and teach. It’s to get beyond theory and to have people actually building sites. We do spend time telling people “why” they’re doing things, because that’s important. But the focus is on the how, and an approach that gets people excited about taking action.
How did you feel about the whole Google PageRank Fiasco?
Call me crazy, but I woke up, saw all the frenzy, and thought “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” I’ve been warning people about relying on Google, and here comes proof-I follow all the rules, and still I get dinged.
The fact that this happened on the day I was launching a training program that shows people how to get away from relying on Google? That was a gift.
Thanks to Brian for answering my questions. I should add that I’m really enjoying participating in Teaching Sells. There are already some cool things happening among those that have joined. There is a forum area where people are encouraged to team up and work together on projects – I have a feeling that we’re going to see some great collaborations emerge out of that as people apply the principles being taught.